St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 8, 2017 – Junior middle hitter Julianne Malek of the No. 13-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Most Valuable Player while head coach Vanessa Walby and assistants were awarded the Coaching Staff of the Year to highlight several association honors, as released Wednesday by the UAA.
In total four Bears earned selection to the all-UAA teams as WashU improved to 24-9 last week in route to clinching the 22nd UAA Title in program history. Malek was selected First-Team all-Association, while sophomore Zoe Baxter, sophomore Leila King and junior Ifeoma Ufondu were named Second-Team all-UAA.
Malek, a 2016 second-team honoree, is the 14th individual at WashU to be selected as the UAA MVP as the Bears have totaled 18 altogether. The Woodlands, Texas-native is the Bears most efficient attacker and boasts Division III's second-best hitting percentage (.425). On the year, Malek has totaled 336 kills with 60 errors in 649 attempts while also contributing 88 blocks and 40 aces.
Baxter has started every match for WashU as the libero and anchored the defense with double-digit dig totals in 32 of 33 matches played this season. She leads the Bears with 549 digs which ranks third in the UAA. The Los Angeles, Calif.-native surpassed 1,000 career digs in October and currently has 1,116 to her credit.
King leads the UAA in total blocks with 109 as she nearly averages one per set (0.95). She ranks second on the Bears in hitting percentage, of those with more than 50 attempts, with a .303 mark while totaling 258 kills. The Atlanta, Ga.-native is one of just four student-athletes within the UAA to exceed a .300 hitting percentage on the year.
Ufondu was named to the all-UAA Second-Team for the second time in her career and she leads the Bears in kills heading into the NCAA Tournament. She is the lone Bear to exceed the century mark in both kills (366) and digs (158) thus far this season. Ufondu has reached double figures in kills during 21 of the Bears 33 matches including twice reaching a personal-best 20 this season. The Lancaster, Calif.-native has also contributed 77 blocks.
Walby earns the honor for the second time with the Bears and fourth overall in her career. She previously won the award in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Her 2017 staff includes full-time assistant Ashlee Rust as well as part time assistants Greg Selle, Sarah Sherman and Brandon Thompson in addition to student assistant Savannah Zhang.